Manhattan/Financial District

The Financial District comprises the southern tip of Manhattan, with the Hudson River on the west, the East River on the east, New York Harbor to the south, and Chambers Street on the north. It is one of the two largest business districts in New York City - the other being Midtown Manhattan - and is the historical core of the modern city, a fact reflected in the convoluted street pattern compared to the grid of regular streets and avenues found uptown.

The "lowest" part of Lower Manhattan is home to some of New York's most famous and evocative landmarks: Wall Street, the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island and Ellis Island in the harbor, both accessed by ferry boat from the financial district.

Understand

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge

History

The southern tip of Manhattan was the site of earliest European settlement in the New York area - the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam. Established in 1625, the settlement became the capital of New Netherland, the colonial Dutch province which controlled the area along the Hudson River. In 1664, the British conquered New Netherland and New Amsterdam became "New York".

In the late 18th century, with the American Revolution brewing, New York became a major political center for the colonists. Protests against the Stamp Act led the so-called "Stamp Act Congress" to convene here and sign a Declaration of Rights and Grievances, asserting the concept of "no taxation with representation." British soldiers captured New York and maintained control of the city until the war ended, when George Washington triumphantly returned to Manhattan. He would return again in 1789 to take the oath of office and become the nation's first president, as New York briefly served as the first capital of the United States, where the Bill of Rights was drafted and ratified.

Shortly after the creation of the United States, Lower Manhattan started becoming an economic and financial center for the new nation. In 1792, a group of stock brokers signed the Buttonwood Agreement, which created the New York Stock Exchange, underneath a buttonwood tree at 68 Wall Street. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the corporate culture of the area fueled the construction of many skyscrapers in the district, and as the financial power of New York grew, so did its influence; as evidenced by the 1929 Wall Street Crash, which ushered in the Great Depression.

Through the 1940s and 50s, new economic growth on Manhattan was centered in Midtown. Desiring to concentrate new growth in Lower Manhattan, and coming in at the height of the urban renewal movement, local leaders demolished most of the old structures to make way for the gleaming office towers of today's Lower Manhattan, not the least of which included the World Trade Center. The World Trade Center, a complex of two identical skyscrapers (the Twin Towers) and five low-rise buildings constructed in the 1970s, defined the Lower Manhattan landscape until it was destroyed during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. A new World Trade Center complex is in the process of being built on the site, opening in stages alongside a large museum and outdoor memorial to the September 11th victims.

Layout

This part of Manhattan has an irregular street grid system, a throwback to the original Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam. This street pattern seems even more irregular when compared to the neat grid system seen just about everywhere else in Manhattan. Major avenues here run in a north-south direction - West Street along the Hudson River, Church Street and Broadway through the middle of the district, and Water Street and South Street (the former running beneath the elevated FDR Drive) along the East River. With the exception of these roads, almost every street in the financial district is very narrow and often clogged with traffic during the day. The blocks immediately surrounding the intersection of Wall and Broad Streets (where the stock exchange and Federal Hall are located) are blocked off to automobiles; only pedestrians may enter.

Visitor information

Get in

Financial District map

By subway

Most of the city's subway lines have stops in the Financial District, making it one of the best ways to get there. There are few express stations in the area, so most trains will stop at every station in this neighborhood. Though many city bus lines serve the area, traffic is often slow on the winding streets.

The 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 lines connect the district to Uptown and the Bronx, with the 2, 3 and 4 also running to Brooklyn under the East River (along with the 5 during rush hours). The A and C lines run Uptown and east out to Brooklyn, with the A continuing to the JFK Airport area. The E runs alongside the A and C lines to Midtown, where it breaks off and runs out to Queens. The R heads north to Midtown and Queens on the weekdays. Finally, the J and Z lines head northeast to Brooklyn and Queens, but be aware that Broad Street and the J/Z section of Fulton Street are closed on weekends.

Additionally, PATH subway trains connect the World Trade Center site to New Jersey. There are two lines: one to Newark and one to Hoboken, both with stops in Jersey City. The PATH costs $1.75 per ride and accept MetroCard for payment.

There is a free circulator bus around the Financial District called the Downtown Connection.

By ferry

The Staten Island Ferry connects the   South Ferry Terminal, located at the southern tip of Manhattan, to the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island. The ferry is absolutely free and is popular for tourists since the route offers excellent views of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. The ferry runs 24 hours a day, usually running at 30 minute intervals, with more running during rush hours and fewer running at very late hours.

NY Waterway operates ferry services from the World Financial Center ferry terminal and the Pier 11/Wall St. ferry terminal to several points in New Jersey along the Hudson River, including in Hoboken and Weehawken. Fares vary by route.

New York Water Taxi operates ferry services from World Financial Center, Battery Park, Pier 11/Wall St. and the South Street Seaport to points in Midtown, Brooklyn, Queens, Yonkers, and Breezy Point. Their boats are painted to look like taxis and fares vary by route.

See

Landmarks

George Washington overlooks the New York Stock Exchange
  •   New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), 18 Broad St (at Wall St). A historic site, not least because of the Black Thursday crash of the Exchange on 24 October 1929 and the subsequent sell-off panic which started on Black Tuesday, 29 October, precipitating the worldwide Great Depression of the early 1930s. The present Exchange building opened in 1903, recognized from the first as an example of masterful architecture, with the six massive Corinthian columns across its Broad Street facade imparting a feeling of substance and stability and, to many, seeming the very embodiment of America’s growth and prosperity. The building has been closed to the public since 9/11.
  •   23 Wall Street (at Broad St). Located across from the Stock Exchange is this imposing office building which was constructed in 1914 and served as the headquarters of JP Morgan. The Wall Street Bombing of September 16, 1920 damaged the building, with shrapnel blasting several holes in the limestone facade. The holes are still there for any to see.
  •   Trump Building, 40 Wall St. A very impressive skyscraper which was completed in 1930 and surpassed the height of the nearby Woolworth Building, making it the tallest building in the world until the Chrysler Building was completed just a month later (which in turn lost that title to the Empire State Building less than a year later). The building was purchased by Donald Trump in 1995, hence its current name.
  •   Federal Hall, 26 Wall St (opposite the NYSE),  +1 212 825-6990. M-F 9AM-5PM. On this site on April 30, 1789, George Washington stood on a balcony overlooking Wall Street and was inaugurated as the first president of the United States. The old building on the site had been used as New York's city hall and had hosted some of the first congregations of the colonies in the lead-up to the American Revolution, such as the Stamp Act Congress. After the revolution the building, now Federal Hall, briefly housed Congress, the Supreme Court, and Executive Branch offices before the national capital moved to Philadelphia. The current building dates to 1842 and was used first as a Customs House, then later the US Sub-Treasury (millions of dollars of gold and silver were kept in the basement vaults). Today the building is maintained by the National Park Service as a museum dedicated to the history of the site. Guided tours of the building are available, or you can just walk in and look up at the rotunda and view some of the artifacts, such as the bible Washington used in his inauguration ceremony. Free.
The South Tower fountain, National September 11 Memorial
City Hall Park

Museums

New York Harbor

Statue of Liberty

The Financial District is the primary gateway to three islands in New York Harbor: Liberty Island (home to the Statue of Liberty), Ellis Island, and Governors Island. Another ferry runs to Liberty and Ellis Islands from Liberty Park in Jersey City, but most tourists use the Manhattan ferries. These are some of the most popular destinations in New York City and access is available only by ferry boat.

If you're visiting New York on a budget or you don't want to wait for hours to get near the Statue of Liberty, you may want to consider taking the Staten Island Ferry, which is absolutely free and offers excellent views of the Statue of Liberty from its route to Staten Island from the South Ferry Terminal, just east of Battery Park.

Ticket Options - Visitors to Liberty Island and Ellis Island have two reserve ticket options:

Tickets can also be purchased through concierges at major hotels and at the ticketing windows in the Castle Clinton National Monument inside Battery Park, New York, or inside the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal in Liberty State Park, Jersey City, New Jersey.

Note: There is a separate Reserved Ticket entrance (at the security check-in) for the Reserve Ticket and Reserve with Crown Ticket. If you purchase one of these reserved tickets, then you can take advantage of this priority entry (Reserve Ticket entrance) and you could easily save an hour of waiting during busy times.

  Statue Cruises is the only means of access to Liberty and Ellis Islands; the ferries depart from Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan or from Liberty State Park in Jersey City. Be prepared for airport like security screening with similar restrictions (no food or open liquids, no knives, etc.) before boarding the boat. One ticket is good for sailings to both islands and return to starting point. Tickets are limited in number and can be obtained on the day from the ferry company or in advance by calling the ticket office on the phone number above or online. If leaving from Manhattan, you may need to arrive at Battery Park 2 hours before your timed tour to allow for security screening and ferry travel, so it is best to arrive at Battery Park early in the morning.

The   Statue of Liberty, or Liberty Enlightening the World, a gift from the people of France to celebrate the centennial of the United States, stands upon Liberty Island and is one of the most famous symbols of the nation and has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Upon departing the ferry, you can visit the Visitor Information Station, which has a schedule of the day's events. Visitors can also meet at the Liberty Island Flagpole (behind the statue) for a ranger-led tour of the island. You can also visit the monument lobby, museum (where you'll see various exhibits on the statue, the old torch, and the famous "New Colossus" sonnet), and outside to the promenade and Fort Wood (the 11-point star-shaped structure the statue stands upon). You can also take a trip to the pedestal observation deck (though not up into the statue itself, unless you have a Reserve with Crown ticket); visitors can look upward to view the interior of the statue (there are four marked viewing locations); and the pedestal observation deck provides a 360-degree view, which includes the New York City skyline. Security checks are rigorous, so travel as light as possible. Backpacks and other large bags are not permitted on the tours but can be stored in lockers for a fee. On busy days there may be long waits. Visitors with the Reserve with Crown ticket are allowed to climb up a circular staircase from the base of the statue to the crown, but tickets are very limited and should be reserved three or four months (up to one year) in advance. Children must be at least 4-feet tall, and must be able to walk up and down the stairs by themselves, and all ticket holders must show a photo ID to match the name on their tickets.

The Great Hall on Ellis Island

  Ellis Island is served by the same ferry as the Statue of Liberty. Ellis Island was home to the nation's primary federal immigration station, with over 12 million immigrant steamship passengers passing through from its opening in 1892 to its closing in 1954. Today, over 40 percent of America's population can trace their ancestry through Ellis Island. The island is home to the American Family Immigration History Center, which contains manifests of 25 million immigrants, passengers, and crew members who entered New York Harbor. The Immigration museum at Ellis Islands has details about "Peopling of America" and if you are an avid history lover, this museum will need at least 3-4 hrs of your time. Since the ferry ride takes you to both Ellis Islands as well as the Liberty Islands, you will have to plan your day well.

Learn

Buy

Eat

Broad Street has several chain eateries.

Sleep

Battery Park City, with older classic buildings on West Street to the right of the photo

Go next

Routes through Financial District

Theater District Tribeca  N  S  Downtown Brooklyn (2, 3) Bed-Stuy and Flatbush (2, 3)
Midtown East VillageChinatown (6)  N  S  Downtown Brooklyn (4, 5) Bed-Stuy and Flatbush (4, 5)
Theater District Tribeca  N  S  Downtown Brooklyn (A, C) The Rockaways (A)
END  W  E  Chinatown Williamsburg
Midtown Chinatown  N  S  END
Hoboken Jersey City  NW  SE  END
Newark Jersey City  W  E  END


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, February 06, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.